Conversation flowed so easy between us; it was obvious that he favoured the light, happy and joking banter we always seemed to fall into. But just as easily as he grinned and he laughed, he seemed equally comfortable when our talking strayed to more serious and personal topics.
He hadn't been lying when he'd said he had too many questions, though I was sure he didn't ask the ones he was most eager to have answered; they were the secrets, and I had promised him only one. But secrets aside, he seemed to have no problem whatsoever coming up with alternative things to ask me; and I had no problem answering.
It was easy – so easy – to talk to him. Whether we were exchanging joking remarks or I was revealing yet another answer to his eager question, it just felt so normal, so natural. There was a comfort, a familiarity, despite the fact that we'd met just hours earlier. I wanted to confide in him, wanted him to know me; and I wanted to know him.
At first he had seemed somewhat surprised as I returned his questions, his head tilting slightly as he stared at me in curiosity. But it hadn't taken him long to simply grin and shrug, sinking back into his relaxed sprawl as we talked; and talk we did.
I wanted to know more about the pack; I had never known it was possible for the number of wolves to be so large. Jake's face when I had told him was one of complete surprise; after all, he had never mentioned how many were in the pack. When I had told him the reason I knew – that I could feel them – he turned thoughtful, falling silent for almost a minute before he spoke again. He had never known of imprints, alpha or otherwise, connecting to the rest of the pack, and neither had I. It was a mystery, one we discussed and debated for what felt like forever before we both ran out of ideas. But that time, both of our heads spinning from the confusion, it was with relief that we transitioned to a far less bewildering topic.
Jake wanted to know all about me, about my life, a question that was far easier to answer. I spent most of my time living in Seattle, where I had shared an apartment with Sera until she had moved back home about 8 months ago. I kept busy, often alternating jobs, though my favourite by far was with the police force. I had first gotten into it more than 20 years ago, and always ended up returning after spending time away. Thanks to my inability to age, I had to be careful; here, more than almost anywhere else, they were on the lookout for things out of the ordinary.
Still, despite the danger and risk, I just couldn't stay away. It was a career uniquely suited to me; a career where enhanced senses made all the difference. I could see things others couldn't, hear things they couldn't. If it came to a fight, my safety was never really in doubt, though it rarely did; strength and reflexes meant I could avoid combat almost altogether. But more than all of that, it was beyond satisfying to actually put my talents to good use. I was helping people, saving people; making the world a safer, better place. I was sure I rambled on about it far longer than necessary, and sounded like a brainwashed advertiser for it, but Jake never said anything. In fact, the whole thing seemed to make him strangely happy.
I spent a while trying to figure it out, before I finally ended up just asking him. He replied that not only did he find it interesting, but said he knew exactly how I felt. After all, was he not doing the exact same thing? Protecting the tribe from the supernatural, using his abilities to do so? The idea left me momentarily stunned; I had never thought of it that way. Though once I thought about it, it didn't seem strange at all that we both liked and gravitated towards such similar professions.
After that, our conversation flowed to a different topic, and to yet another topic after that. We talked about anything and everything; about life and friends, likes and dislikes. There was no method, no agenda; the conversation roamed as it will, and we were both content to follow it; talking for no other reason than we wanted to, and simply enjoying it. Hours and hours passed, and still we talked; neither of us acknowledging the fact that my foot was still resting on his knee.
And neither of us admitting how much we were relying on that simple touch.
I needed it; needed it so much that I couldn't bring myself to move away. It was only once the sun's first faint rays began to light up the night, and I reached such a level of exhaustion that I could hardly stop yawning, that I was forced to find the will.
'You should get to bed.' Jake said softly, and I gave him a rueful smile.
'I'm sorry I'm falling asleep on you.' I murmured, and he grinned.
'It's not your fault; I'm the one that kept you up all night talking.' I shook my head, disagreeing.
'I wouldn't have slept anyway.' He stood up, offering me a hand and pulling me to my feet. 'But I think I will now though.' My words were somewhat muffled as I stifled a yawn. Jake's hand still holding mine, I gave him a grateful smile.
'Thank you.' I said softly, touching his upper arm lightly, and he smiled.
'Anytime.' He replied, and after one more second spent staring into his mesmerizing eyes, I turned my gaze away, moving ever so slowly to the front door. It was hard – harder than I expected – to even do that. I had to force myself not to turn back around, because I knew if I did, I wouldn't want him to leave. But as my hand grabbed the doorknob, I couldn't bring myself to turn it.
It wasn't until I heard his soft footfalls as he descended the stairs behind me that I let my head turn to watch him. His bare back and beautifully muscled shoulders moving further and further and away, barely visible in the dim light. He paused at the tree line, as if he felt me watching; maybe he did. My breath hitched as he turned around, giving me a final smile which I returned.
And then he was gone.
It was with a mixture of sadness and happiness that I slipped back through the dark house, Ani and Sera both still sound asleep. It wasn't surprising; it was only around 5.30 in the morning, too early for anyone to be awake; and way too late for someone to be going to sleep.
With heavy lidded eyes, I slid into bed with a sigh, hoping that the contentment that had pervaded me from Jake's presence would linger around long enough to let me sleep in peace. I didn't have high hopes, but it never hurt to try; a fact that proved more true than ever as I sunk deep into slumber, and slept away the morning.
I woke to the furious roar of rain thundering down on the house, taking only seconds to wake up and become fully alert; as usual. In the past I had too often been woken from sleep to situations that required immediate attention; so often that now it had become a natural habit. My eyes flickering around the green and white guest bedroom, it was impossible to judge the time with the black clouds coating the sky. Leaning over to read the clock on the nightstand, I was pleasantly surprised to find it just past lunch time; I had slept all through the morning.
Huh. Well, that was unexpected. Historically, I usually spent nights in La Push in a torturously restless sleep; and I certainly didn't stick it out for more than eight hours. Last night – or rather, this morning – however, had been different. Sure, I had still woken multiple times, but the dreams had been few and short, and my sleep far deeper than usual; and I knew just who I had to thank.
Talking with him last night had been wonderful. Even without the imprint, I got the feeling I would have gravitated toward him. We got along so well, talking for hours and hours as if we hadn't just met. But best of all was the fact that for once, I actually got to be truthful.
I didn't have to pretend to be 20 and human, I didn't have to make up the story of my life, and I didn't have to avoid awkward questions about body heat; I didn't have to lie at all.
If only I didn't have to leave. I always had to leave. I was immortal; I didn't age. It meant that when I met someone, when I became friends someone, I had a maximum of five years before I would have to disappear. It meant knowing that every time I made a friend, I was going to lose them.
And now, when I'd finally met someone who already knew all about my immortality, I had less time than ever.
It was times like this when I really wished I wasn't immortal.
Immortality; immortality was a funny thing. Some people it suits, some people it doesn't. For people who want to experience the world, who want to travel and try new things, immortality is a blessing. They have forever to explore. It doesn't bother them that to watch everyone they know and meet die, because they never get close to anyone.
But then there are those that need relationships. People who don't care so much about doing and seeing things, but more about who they meet. People who are perfectly happy staying in one spot and never exploring, because they live for their friends and family, and don't care so much about the rest. And for these people, watching everyone die, losing everyone; it's torture. Immortality is a curse.
I'd tried to be the first type of person; tried travelling instead of socialising. But I'd always known that wasn't me. I was a friendly person; I liked talking with people, meeting people. Experiencing the world held no appeal for me if there was no one to share it with.
For me, immortality wasn't a blessing. Despite the pain, I still made friends, in spite of knowing I'd lose them; after all, it was better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. And there were those small few friends, friends that knew the truth; friends I didn't have to leave because they knew I was immortal.
Most didn't know the reason; most just knew that for some unknown reason, I didn't age. There were a handful that knew why, for one reason or another; Sera was one of them. But regardless of whether or not they knew why I didn't age, it didn't change our closeness. I clung to them, needed them; but they, too, would eventually leave.
And then there was Jake. Jake, who was immortal. Jake, who had imprinted on me; who should have been the answer to everything.
If only I could be so lucky. Because with him, I would have the shortest time of all.
'You're not seriously going out there, are you?' Sera asked me, her incredulity clear in her disbelieving words. Almost as if to emphasise her point, a loud clap of thunder rumbled through the air, muffled by the ruckus that was the rain pouring down on the house. Pausing in my path from the bedroom to the front door, I veered around the corner to see Sera in the kitchen, giving me a pointed look. I grinned back innocently, and she rolled her eyes.
'I'll take that as a yes.' She muttered, and my smile widened. Making my way over to the kitchen bench, I leant over it, resting my weight on my elbows. 'I just don't understand the appeal, though. I mean, it's bucketing out there. You'll be soaked in seconds, which would make anyone miserable. But you, for some reason, like it.' I shrugged at her words.
'I like the rain.' I said nonchalantly.
'I know that. I just don't understand why?' Another shrug.
'I like how it smells. I like catching drops in my mouth, and I like feeling it on my skin.' She gave me a skeptical look, and I laughed.
'I know, I know; I'm insane.'
'Completely.' She agreed.
'I'm still going for a run.'
'In the middle of a storm?'
'Yep.' She held her hands up in surrender.
'Well, I tried.' I smiled softly, hugging her and giving her a soft peck on the cheek.
'Be back soon.' I said, and with a wave, I slipped through the front door and into the down pour.
Unsurprisingly, I was soaked in seconds. The steady pounding of the droplets against my skin made me shiver slightly in pleasure, and I couldn't help but smile at the sensation as I disappeared into the trees. Pausing for a moment to decide on my direction, I threw myself forward with a grin: I just loved to run.
I loved seeing the trees flash past me, I loved the wind tearing at my clothes and streaming my hair out behind me. I loved the speed; speed that was so obviously supernatural that I had to be careful, so careful, that no one ever saw me. The exhilaration, the adrenaline that was coursing through my veins; it was intoxicating. It made me push myself faster, stretching my legs to their limits as I all but flew through the trees.
Running; running was good. It was hard to worry, hard to fret, when you were moving so fast that the world was almost a blur. My thoughts could run wild in the back of my mind, there but diluted, leaving the forefront of my mind free to simply be. It was both relaxing and thrilling, calming and exciting. But the strange mix of peace and enjoyment that had settled over me was completely dwarfed by the surprise that assaulted me as an unexpected voice suddenly called out from behind me.